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Analytics: HR’s Ticket to a “Seat at the Table”

As long as I have been in and around human resources, I have listened to HR leadership and practitioners talk about the same thing – getting a “seat at the table”.

Once at this table, they would have the ability to impact budgets and corporate strategy.  This magical table, was the key to their professional validation, organizational success, happiness and apparently, by the attention it warrants, world peace

How to get there has been filled with advice ranging from “learn a second language”  to “achieve operational efficiency” to the novel concept of “understand your organizations business

No other googleable industry combination came back with as many articles, blog posts & words of wisdom.  Why?

In the rest of business, you don’t sit around talking about seats at the table, you just sit down.

And you sit down because you can prove what you say has merit, is backed up by numbers & will effect the corporate strategy one way or the other.  The rapid rise in CRM and Supply Chain technology in the early 2000’s gave organizations a business case for everything it thought was important – Sales, Distribution, Product Management.  But all of the products really missed the mark for HR and talent.

Early Applicant Tracking and Talent Management technology make a huge leap providing some basic metrics around hiring and retention – but it was still very elementary compared to what our sales and operations counterparts were able to offer up.

Then, somewhere in the mix of mobile apps and integrated platforms and “seat at the table” talk over the last 24 months – something amazing happened….

HR technology vendors realized that an integrated platform being sold into an executive team required more than just a great user experience and feature checklist.  RFP’s were asking about ROI and validating their beliefs around their talent.  And a number of vendors were popping onto the scene (Aquire, Visier & Wanted Analytics) showing just how valuable numbers for HR can be.

And at this years HR Technology Conference I saw everything I expected – a gazillion social recruiting apps, a billion talent community platforms, a surprising number of people claiming to have the  “first mobile app” and a handful of really innovative companies talking (loudly) about and highlighting HR Analytics (and not just for recruiting).


You are officially at the table, HR.


Now, can we move on and sit down?

Sarah Brennan

Sarah Brennan is a recognized HCM industry analyst and advisor focused on improving the impact of technology on people, business and the future of work.  Sarah Brennan has been named a top global influencer in HR Technology by more than 50 publications and shared her insights at speaking engagements around the world. As Chief Advisor at Accelir, she partners with HR Technology vendors and investors as an advisor, interim CxO role and on engagements focused on growth strategies, product roadmap & market education/evangelism. She also works with corporate teams enhancing talent strategies.

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  1. Melissa Fairman October 12, 2011


    I love this post. It clearly and briefly explains the importance of analytics to HR. Now we need to get more HR people to learn and value analysis. This can be tough considering how much time most HR pros spend in the day-to-day work in the trenches. Nonetheless something HR needs to continue to develop in its toolbox.

    1. admin October 12, 2011


      Thank you! I agree – if they don’t understand the value and how to actually apply it to business, analytic’s have no use for them, or sitting at the “table” for that matter.

      Smart human resource pros will learn how to embrace analytics not only for the strategic goals, but also the tactical, day-to-day business decisions they need to make in each area – recruitment, retention, onboarding, performance – its all metric driven.


  2. Mike January 16, 2012

    Great post. Definitely agree analytics are huge but HR needs to present predictive data – more than activity-based analytics (ie what’s happened). One of the most fundamental data types that innovative HR departments are collecting is data about the people doing the work themselves, which can be used by analytics teams to be combined with other business data. For analytics to be truly valuable to the business they need to tie to performance and viewed in conjunction with all other data already being collected.


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